Gauhati HC Orders Centre: Pay Rs 20 Lakh To Five Victims Of 1994 Assam Army Killings

Gauhati HC Orders Centre: Pay Rs 20 Lakh To Five Victims Of 1994 Assam Army Killings

The Gauhati High Court on Thursday ordered the Central government to pay Rs 20 lakh as monetary assistance to the families of five youths killed by the Army in Assam’s Tinsukia district in 1994 during an anti-insurgency operation.

According to advocate Pari Barman, the court also declared the case closed due to the long time elapsed, which makes retrieving evidence or witnesses difficult.

The order was passed by a division bench of Justices Achintya Malla Bujor Barua and Robin Phukan.

“Today, the case was closed. The court has ordered the Union of India to pay Rs 20 lakh in compensation to next of kin of the five deceased,” Advocate Barman stated.

The case involves the killing of five youths who were among nine All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) members picked up by the Army from the Doomdooma circle of Tinsukia district in February 1994, after the ULFA murdered a tea estate manager.

The compensation amount will be deposited with the high court and it will be paid to the victims’ families as identified by the district judge, advocate Barman said.

Fearing for the safety of the nine youths, then-AASU leader Jagadish Bhuyan, who later became a state minister, immediately filed a habeas corpus petition before the high court, prompting the Army to produce four of them alive and the bodies of the others later.

In 2018, an Army court found seven members of the 18 Punjab Regiment of Dhola camp responsible for the killings guilty and sentenced them to life imprisonment.

According to Barman, the Tinsukia district judge has been asked to identify the next of kin, who must file their claim within 15 days.

More information cannot be shared because the order copy has not yet been made available, the advocate stated.

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